Slovenia

Slovenia is a mountainous nation state in Central Europe. It is marked with significant biological diversity and is one of the most water-rich countries in Europe. Over half of the territory is covered by forest. Slovenia’s Karst Plateau is a limestone region of underground rivers, gorges, and caves, between Ljubljana and the Mediterranean. The best known caves are Postojna Cave and the UNESCO listed Škocjan Caves.

There are 24,000 animal species, among them marmots, Alpine ibex, chamois, deer, roe deer, boar, and hares. It is believed that Slovenia has one of the largest brown bear populations in Europe with around 400 bears. Among the 13 domestic animals native to Slovenia are the Karst Shepherd mountain dog, the Carniolan honeybee, and the Lipizzan horse, which is associated with the Spanish Riding School of Vienna, Austria.

Maribor, Slovenia’s second-largest city, is home to the oldest vine in the world. The grapevine of Žametovka is about 440 years old and still produce 25 litres of wine every year, however the wine is not available for public sale and has been described by the The Daily Telegraph as “virtually undrinkable”.

Ljubljana City Museum is home to the oldest wheel in the world. The Ljubljana Marshes Wheel is approximately 5,150 years old, has a radius of 70cm and is made of ash and oak.

Slovenian cuisine is a mixture of the Central European cuisine (especially Austrian and Hungarian), Mediterranean cuisine and Balkan cuisine. Recipes I came across include Jota (meat and vegetable hot pot), Ričet (Slovenian Barley soup), Idrija Žlikrofi (dumplings), Čompe s skuto (potatoes with cottage cheese), Prekmurska gibanica (layered cake), Potica (nut bread), baked mushroom with cheese and Kranjske Klobasa (sausages). I opted to make Belokranjska pogača (salted cake), which although quite doughy it was really tasty.

Rating: 9/10

Serves: Makes 28 small squares
Prep time: 45 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes

500g flour
1 tbsp salt
1/2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp oil
7g (1 pack) of dried yeast
Approx 300ml warm water
1 egg

Pre-heat the oven to 200°C
Mix all the ingredients and form a dough
Leave to rise for 30 minutes
Spread the dough evenly onto a baking tray, slice it into squares and glaze it with the beaten egg
Sprinkled with sea salt and bake for approximately 40 minutes
Let it cool on a rack before cutting

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Ingredients for Belokranjska pogača (salted cake)
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Belokranjska pogača (salted cake)
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Belokranjska pogača (salted cake)
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Belokranjska pogača (salted cake)
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Lake Bled, Slovenia
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Slovenian mountains
ljubljana-city-slovenia
Ljubljana City, Slovenia
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Belokranjska pogača (salted cake)
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Tonga

The Kingdom of Tonga is an archipelago of 169 islands in the Pacific Ocean and 36 of the islands are inhabited. Spread over 500 miles from north to south, there are 3 main island groups – Vava’u, Ha’apai, and Tongatapu. 70% of the population living on the main island of Tongatapu. Tonga became a constitutional monarchy in 1875 and remains the only monarchy in the Pacific. King Tupou VI has reigned since 18 March 2012.

Rugby union is the national sport and they are very proud of the national team known as the Sea Eagles. Like New Zealand, Tonga performs a war-like dance before matches called the “Sipi Tau”.

Tourism is the 2nd largest source of Tongan earnings with 45,000 visitors in 2013. Highlights include Ha’amonga ‘a Maui Trilithon (the South Pacific’s stonehenge), St Joseph’s Cathedral, Mapu’a ‘a Vaea Blowholes, Ha’atafu Beach and ‘Anahulu Cave.

Tongan cuisine features taro, yams, bananas, coconuts, and fish baked in leaves. Traditionally they would have eaten one meal at lunchtime each day that had been cooked in an ‘umu’ (earth oven). Nowadays they have adopted a more western meal schedule of breakfast, light lunch and dinner. Some Tongan dishes include Faikakai topai (dumplings in sweet coconut syrup), Lo’I Feke (Octopus in coconut cream) , Lū sipi (taro leaves with lamb), Kapisi Pulu (cabbage and corned beef in coconut cream) , Keke Vai with Banana (Banana Pancakes) and Oka Ita (Tongan ceviche). I opted to make coconut bread which was a little crumbly but quite tasty.

Rating: 7/10

Makes: 8 – 10 slices
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup desiccated coconut
1 egg
1 & ½ cup coconut milk
¼ cup sugar
½ tsp scraped vanilla bean

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees
Mix flour, baking soda, salt and grated coconut in a bowl
Whisk egg, add sugar, vanilla and coconut milk and mix well
Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix well
Pour into greased loaf tin
Bake for 1 hour and remove from the tin to a cooling rack

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Ingredients for Tongan coconut bread
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Tongan coconut bread
Tonga rugby team performing sipi-tau
Tonga rugby team performing sipi-tau

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Nuku Island Vava'u
Nuku Island Vava’u Tonga
Ha’amonga ‘a Maui Trilithon Tonga
Ha’amonga ‘a Maui Trilithon Tonga

Libya

The state of Libya, formerly an Italian colony until independence in 1951 was an authoritarian socialist state under Muammar Qaddafi from 1969 to 2011. His backing of terrorism led to a US bombing in 1986 and UN sanctions in 1992. In 2003 Libya ended its international isolation and abandoned its weapons programs. Since September 2014 the UN has been working to reconcile the governments and encouraging them to form a national unity government.

Libya’s coastline is the longest of any African country bordering the Mediterranean. The Libyan Desert forms the northern and eastern part of the Sahara Desert and covers 95% of Libyan territory. It is one of the driest, harshest and most remote parts of the greater Sahara and in 1922 the highest temperature (58 °C) on earth was recorded here (however it was disqualified by the World Meteorological Organisation in 2013 as it was found to be invalid).

Libya has many sights including the Roman city of Leptis Magna (originally a Phoenician port), the ancient Greek city of Cyrene, the Saharan Ubari lakes and 12,000 year old rock art at Jebel Acacus. However you’ll have to wait a while as travelling to Libya currently is a total no no.

Libyan cuisine derives much from the traditions of Tunisia and Egypt. There are four main ingredients of traditional Libyan food: olives (and olive oil), dates, grains and milk. Some recipes I came across include Mubatan (fried potato stuffed with meat), Mhalbiya (rice pudding), Bureek (pastries), Bazin (bread dome served with lamb stew and eggs) and Khubs bi’ tun (bread with tuna fish). I made Khubzah bil Ashab (Libyan Herb Bread) which was very flavoursome.

Rating: 8/10

Serves: 6 – 8
Prep time: 25 mins + 1 – 1/2 hours resting time
Cook time: 25 – 35 mins

1 cup warm milk
1 cup warm water
1 tbsp dried yeast
1 tsp sugar
8 level tbsp cornflour
3 1/2 cups plain flour
40ml olive oil
4 tsp sugar
2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
Bunch of thyme, chopped
Bunch of parsley, chopped
Green olives, chopped
1 tsp paprika

Add the dried yeast to 1/2 cup of warm water with a tsp of sugar
Measure 2 level tbsp into a cup and then fill to the top with plain flour then sieve into a bowl, repeat this 3 more times
Sieve the flour and cornflour 4 more times, then seive in the salt and baking powder
Add the warm water into the yeast and sugar and stir well
Add the liquid to the sieved flour gradually and bring into together to a soft dough
Stir in the herbs, olives and paprika into the dough
Stir in the olive oil
Cover the dough with a tea towel and leave it somewhere warm for 1 – 1/2 hours
Preheat the oven to 220 C.
Grease a loose base cake tin (about 20cm by 20cm)
Pour the dough and smoothen.
Brush generously with olive oil.
Put in the hot oven and cook for 25 – 30 mins or until golden
Use a skewer to ensure the dough is cooked
Remove from the cake tin and leave to cool on a wire rack
Cut into squares and serve with mint tea

Honduras

The Republic of Honduras, is a mountainous country in Central America discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1502. Honduras was home to Maya culture, famed for their hieroglyphic script. 80% of the country’s territory is mountainous and there are 91 protected national areas. It has 2 Unesco world heritage sites; the Maya site of Copan and Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve.

Copán Ruins Archeological Site is the most studied Maya city in the world. Dating back nearly 2,000 years, the society that lived here was highly stratified, deeply symbolic, and focused on tradition. The site is famous for the stelae and altars that are scattered around the immense plaza, most of which were erected during the years 711 and 736. Other highlights include the Hieroglyphic Stairway, a unique temple, which holds the longest known Mayan text and the Acropolis featuring superb carved reliefs of the 16 kings of Copán.

Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve is one of the few remaining tropical rainforests in Central America, a massive swath of jungle along the Mosquito Coast. It boasts an extraordinary diversity of ecosystems and species including the endangered Mexican Spider Monkey, the endangered Central American Tapir, the near-threatened Guiana Crested Eagle, several species of poisonous snakes and 4 species of marine turtles (loggerhead, leatherback, green turtle and hawksbill turtle).

Honduras has struggled with social and political instability and has the world’s highest murder rate (5,936 murders in 2014). Honduras was declared one of the heavily indebted poor countries by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, and became eligible for debt relief in 2005. In 2010, 50% of the population were living below the poverty line. About 83% of the population are literate and even though 94% enrol to primary education, only 40% complete.

Other than the Unesco sites, a major highlight is Islas de la Bahía, three Bay Islands – Roatán, Utila and Guanaja. Their reefs are part of the second largest barrier reef in the world, home to fish, coral, sponges, rays, sea turtles and whale sharks.

The cuisine of Honduras is a fusion of Spanish, Caribbean and African. Some of the dishes I found were Baleadas (flour tortillas with beans & cheese) , Sopa de Mondongo (tripe & vegetable soup) , Carneada (barbecued meat) and Tapado de Pescado (Baked fish with coconut milk and vegetables). Coconut and bananas are plentiful in Honduras, so I opted to make Banana and coconut bread.
It was really delicious.

Rating: 10/10

Serves: 8 – 10 slices
Prep time: 25 mins
Cook time: 1 hour

28g unsalted butter at room temperature
28g light cream cheese at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 egg
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
⅛ tsp salt
2 large bananas, mashed
½ cup skimmed milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
¼ cup coconut, flaked or desiccated

Preheat oven to 175 degrees.
Rub a loaf tin with butter ensuring its covered and set aside.
Beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed in mixer.
While beating add 1 cup sugar and egg.
Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl and stir until well-blended.
Combine banana, milk and vanilla in a separate bowl until well combined.
Add the flour mixture alternately with banana mixture to the butter and cream cheese mixture, mixing after each addition.
Stir in the coconut.
Pour batter into prepared tin and bake for 60 minutes.
Let it cool before enjoying with or without butter.

Saint Lucia

I visited Saint Lucia a few years ago and being entirely honest, I wasn’t as amazed as I’d hoped. The hotel was a little tired and we were there during rainy season. However, after doing research for the blog, I’d definitely like to go back and further explore what it has to offer.

Lying in the eastern Caribbean Sea and part of the Lesser Antilles, Saint Lucia is 27 miles long and 14 miles wide. It is more mountainous than most Caribbean islands. The French gave Saint Lucia it’s name, after Saint Lucy of Syracuse, as they were the first Europeans to colonise the island. Saint Lucia gained independence from Britain in 1979. It is a Commonwealth realm and Queen Elizabeth II is the Head of State.

Along with the picturesque beaches, tourists come to Saint Lucia to see The Pitons, majestic twin peaks called Gros Piton (797m) and Petit Piton (750m) soaring from the sea. They are the only two of its kind in the world and have recently attained world heritage site status. Other highlights include the rain forests, Pigeon Island National Park and the world’s only drive-in volcano at Sulphur Springs (Soufriere). Ranking no.1 on Trip Advisor, ‘the’ place to stay is The Inn On The Bay in Marigot Bay.

The cuisine of Saint Lucia is a blend of French, East Indian and British influences. Dishes include Banana fritters, Green figs and Salt fish (the national dish), Accras (fishcake), Souse (pork broth), Breadfruit (like potato but sweet) and Pouille Dudon (chicken stew with treacle and coconut). I made Hot bakes, which are a little like muffins. The recipe I followed didn’t advise how many I should make, so mine were larger than they should have been, however they went down a treat with the kids at breakfast. We had them with jam, treacle and chocolate spread, but I think they would work equally well with a poached egg.

Rating: 9/10

Makes 12 – 20 (depending on how big you make them!)
Prep time: 20 mins + 1 hour resting time
Cook time: 15 mins

3 1/2 cups plain flour
2 tbsp sugar
2 1/2 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tbsp salt
1 tbsp butter
1/4 cup milk
oil for frying
1 cup water

Put the flour into a large bowl add sugar, baking powder, melted butter and salt. Mix thoroughly. Add the milk and just enough water to make a dough sticky to the touch.
Knead the dough for about 5 minutes. If it becomes too sticky, add a little flour to make it easier to handle.
When you are done kneading the dough, cover it and allow it to rise in a warm place for at least half an hour.
Preheat the oven to 160°C
Heat up a frying pan over low – medium heat and then add enough oil to cover the pan.
Divide the dough into small balls (I made 13 but they were probably too big, so I’d aim for 20).
Flatten the dough balls to about ½ inches thick.
When the oil is hot (not smoking), place the flattened balls of dough in your frying pan until one side turns golden brown, about 3-4 minutes and turn over to the other side for same results. Do them in batches if necessary.
Once their all browned, place them in the oven for 10 minutes.
Serve with preserves or poached egg.

United Arab Emirates

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a federation of seven emirates established in 1971 – Abu Dhabi (the capital), Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah, and Umm al-Quwai.
Once a quiet Bedouin backwater, now an astonishing blend of Arabian tradition and economic innovation.  The UAE’s oil reserves are the seventh-largest in the world and as such is one of the wealthiest countries in the Middle East.
In 2013, the UAE’s total population was 9.2 million, of which 1.4 million are Emirati citizens and 7.8 million are expatriates.   Dubai is the most populated Emirate with about 36% of the UAE population.
The climate of the U.A.E is subtropical-arid with hot summers and warm winters. The hottest months are July and August, when average maximum temperatures reach above 45 °C on the coastal plain.  In 2004, there was snow in the UAE for the very first time.
According to Lonely Planet there are 186 sights in the UAE.  The top picks include Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi, Dubai museum, Al Jahili Fort in Al Ain, Deira Souqs and Emirates Palace.  The Burj Khalifa, in Dubai, was completed in January 2010 and became the world’s tallest building at 2,716 feet (828 meters) and 160 stories. It contains the world’s fastest elevators and 20.7 acres of glass.
The Telegraph states that the most expensive hotel room in Dubai is the Royal Suite in Burj Al Arab Jumeirah, priced at up to £12,000 per night.  This is a snip in comparison to the Royal Penthouse Suite at the President Wilson Hotel in Geneva which would set you back £53,000 per night!!
When it comes to the food, they have adopted most of their foods from other West and South Asian countries including Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, India and Oman.  Seafood is popular along with meat and rice.  Alcohol is only allowed to be served in hotel restaurants, bars and nightclubs.  Although one may consume alcohol, it is illegal to be intoxicated in public.  Recipes I came across include Machboos (spicy stew with rice) , Harees (dumplings) , Shawarma (kebab) , Khanfaroush (cookies) , Chicken Salona (stew) and Chabab (bread).  I opted to make Khameer bread, which is traditionally served at breakfast with cottage cheese or fruit, however I served it as a starter with dips.  It was a little sweet, but enjoyable none the less.
Rating: 7/10
1 cup plain flour
1 cup wholemeal flour
1/2 tbsp instant yeast
1/4 cup milk powder
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp saffron
1/2 tsp cardamom powder
3/4 cup warm water
2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
Add both flours, yeast, milk powder, saffron, cardamon powder and sugar in a large bowl and whisk well to combine.
Slowly add water and knead to make a soft dough. When the flour holds together as a dough (you may not need to use all the water), place it on a flat surface and knead for 5 minutes to get a smooth dough.
Let the dough rest for 1 hour in a warm place.
Divide the dough into 6-7 portions. Roll each portion into a disc of 4-5 inches.
Heat a non stick fying pan or griddle and when it is medium hot, place one of the rolled out discs into the pan.
It will start to puff up, flip after a minute and cook the other side, spread a tsp of oil on top, sprinkle toasted sesame seeds and flip and cook for a few seconds.
Remove it on serving plate and repeat with the other discs.
Serve warm.

Guyana

Guyana situated on the northern mainland of South America is the only English speaking country in the continent.  It gained independence in 1966 and officially became a republic within the British Commonwealth of Nations in 1970.
It is a member of the Caribbean community (CARICOM), which has it’s headquarters in Guyana’s capital, Georgetown.
Guyana means “land of many waters”.  80% of the country is made up of rainforest.  Kaieteur Falls is the world’s widest single drop waterfall, located on the Potaro River in the Kaieteur National Park and is about four times higher than the Niagara Falls.

90% of the population lives in a narrow coastal strip, which makes up approximately 10% of the nation’s total land area.

In 1973,  Jim Jones, founder of ’The People’s Temple’, leased some land in the Guyanese jungle and set up the Jonestown compound.  Hundreds of People’s Temple members flew to Guyana and moved in to the compound.  It was meant to be utopia, but it was overcrowded and cabins were segregated by gender, meaning married couples were forced to live apart.  It was run like a prison encircled with armed guards.  On Nov 18th 1978,  Jim Jones congregated the group and urged them to commit ‘revolutionary’ suicide.  Cyanide and valium were mixed with a flavoured powder to make the lethal drink.  The Jonestown massacre resulted in the deaths of 912 people, 276 were children.  Jones himself died from a single gunshot wound to the head – it is unclear if he did this himself.
The cuisine of Guyana is diverse, taking influence from Africa, Creole, Indian, Portugese and Chinese among others.  Popular dishes are curry, cookup rice (rice & peas), Pepperpot (Guyanese spicy stew) and black cake.  I decided to make Roti (flatbreads).
Rating: 10/10

As Mum & Dad were joining us for dinner, I served the Rotis alongside the South African sosaties, Lebanese tabbouleh and salad & raita.  Overall the meal was rated 9/10.

Makes 6 rotis
Prep time: 10 minutes + 45 minutes standing time for dough
Cook time: 40 minutes

1 cup self raising flour
2 cups plain flour
1 1/4 cup water
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup oil
1/4 cup melted butter

Mix flours, salt and water to form a soft dough. Knead until smooth and let sit for 15 mins.
Roll dough into a rectangular shape about 1/8 inch in thickness.
Place oil and butter together in a bowl. Spread oil and butter mixture liberally over the dough, making sure entire surface of dough is oiled.
Starting from the longer side, roll up the dough tightly.
Slice into six pieces. Scrunch the oily ends of the dough together (like making a pork ball) and then tuck them in so you end up with a round ball.
Place on a tray with the joined side down.
Let them sit for at least half hour.
Place a crepe or omlette pan over a medium heat.
While the pan heats up roll out the dough to a flat, thin circle, one at a time.
Place the dough into the ungreased pan and cook for 1 minute, then flip.
Liberally brush the oil mixture on the roti and after 30 seconds, flip again.
Now brush the other side of the roti with the oil mixture and flip again.
Cook for an additonal minute, then take off the heat and place in a covered bowl.

Shake in covered bowl vigoruously.
This will make the roti fluffy and should reveal the layers.
Continue this process until all the roti is cooked.

Lesotho

Lesotho (pronounced le-soo-too) is a mountainous country surrounded by South Africa.  Originally called Basutoland, it was renamed the Kingdom of Lesotho upon independence from the UK in 1966.  “Lesotho” roughly translates to “the land of the people who speak Sesotho”.

80% of the country is greater than 1,800 m above sea level.

It’s principal exports are manufactures (clothing, footwear, road vehicles) wool & mohair.  Water is Lesotho’s major natural resource. Completion of a large hydropower plant in 1998 helps the economy expand through the sale of water to South Africa.
Some of the top things to do in Lesotho, according to trip advisor, include the AfriSki Ski and Mountain Resort in Buthe Buthe, Katse Dam in Maseru and the Maletsunyane Falls in Semonkong.
I struggled to find recipes that appealed to me, as I’m not a fan of porridge and ‘mealie pap’, a maize porridge is a very common dish in Lesotho.
They also have stews (oxtail) and curries.  However I came across a bread that they cook in the mountain regions of Lesotho called Borotho.  They cook it over a coal fire in a cast iron pot.  I opted to cook it in a copper pot in the oven.
Rating: 4/10.
The bottom of the buns were a bit too crunchy for our liking and the dough was quite dense.  Perhaps they’d be lighter if I’d used just strong white flour rather than a mix.
Prep time: 30 minutes + 1hr 30 minutes proving time
Cook time: 35 minutes
Makes: 12 buns
Ingredients
15g dried yeast
1 tsp sugar
1/2 pt tepid water
225g strong white flour
225g wholemeal bread flour
1 tsp salt
veg oil

Add the yeast & sugar to the water, stir and leave it to stand for 5 minutes.
Sift the flour & salt on to a clean worksurface or bowl.
Make a well in middle and add most of the liquid.
Gradually stir the flour into the liquid so you start forming a gluey paste and then a dough.
Knead the dough for 10 minutes and then place in a bowl with a tea towel over the top and put it in a warm place for at least 1 hour.
Remove the dough on to a lightly floured work surface and gently knead it for a couple of minutes.
Put it back in the bowl, covered with a tea towel and leave it to prove again for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 200 c.
Put a tbsp of veg oil in a lidded oven proof dish (ideally copper or cast iron) and put in the oven to heat for 5 minutes.
Remove the dough from the bowl and make 12 round buns with your hands, placing them in a circle around the edge of the dish with a couple in the middle.  Leave a little bit of space around each one.
Put the lid on the dish and cook for 35 minutes.
Serve for breakfast with butter & jam or your preferred spread.

Botswana

Botswana is located in southern Africa. It is mainly flat and almost 80% is made up of the Kalahari Desert. Botswana is bordered by South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe. It also meets Zambia at a single point but there is no border. The official language of Botswana is English although Setswana is the most spoken.

Botswana is the world’s largest producer of diamonds. Most Botswanan diamonds are mined by the Desbwana company – 50% owned by DeBeers and 50% owned by the government of Botswana. Diamond revenues enables every child in Botswana to receive free education up to the age of 13. The Jwaneng Diamond Mine in southern Botswana is the world’s richest diamond mine.

It is home to the Okavango Delta (the largest inland delta in the world), which became the 1000th inscribed site on the World Heritage List of Unesco in 2014. Chobe National Park has one of the most concentrated population of African elephants and was Botswana’s first national park in 1968. Almost 40% of it’s land is under some form of Wildlife protection. Botswana has been chosen by Lonely Planet as the top country to visit in 2016.

Botswana’s national dish is Seswaa, a salted stewed beef which is usually served with Morogo (a leafy green). One of the more unusual dishes is mophane worms. These are worms similar to caterpillars, that are picked off the mophane tree during summer. They are dried and can be eaten as a snack or rehydrated and cooked in a spicy tomato sauce. However, not being partial to eating worms, I decided to cook Phaphatas (flat dumplings). We had them for breakfast with bacon. Rating: 9/10 (Ellis rated them a 10!)

500g bread flour
8g dried yeast
2 tsps sugar
Half a teaspoon salt
About a cup or so of lukewarm water
Extra flour for kneading

Sift the flour and yeast into a bowl. Add the sugar and salt
Gradually add water and combine with your hands to form a dough. Only add enough water to form the dough.
Knead the dough for about 5 minutes till it’s soft and pliable.
Put aside in a bowl covered with a damp cloth and leave to rise for 30 minutes.
On a floured surface, roll out the dough to about half an inch thickness.
Using a round object like a plastic cup or cookie cutter, cut the dough into circles.
Dust the phaphathas liberally on both sides and place in a flat pan on medium heat with enough space between them to allow for rising.
The heat should not be too high or the phaphatha will burn before it fully cooks on the inside.
The phaphatha should rise while cooking. Keep an eye on them and when they’ve turned brown on the bottom, turn over to cook on the other side.  It took about 40 minutes in total.
Remove from heat when cooked through and enjoy while warm.

 

Kyrgyzstan

My first venture in to the ‘Stans’ and sadly found out that it is the second-poorest country in Asia.  The name Kyrgyz is said to derive from the Kyrgyz word for forty and it is a possibility that the people of Kyrgyzstan came from forty families or clans.  It has one of the world’s largest natural walnut forests.  Alcohol is very cheap, a bottle of vodka is priced at around 180 som (3.5 EUR) and beer costs 60 som (1.2 EUR).  A search in Expedia for a flight from London to Bishkek, the capital city, starts around £370 return if you stop at Istanbul on the way.  There are 36 hotels in Bishkek according to Trip advisor, Futuro Hotel being the highest ranked.  They eat a lot of horse meat and mutton, but not many vegetables.  Recipes include Beshbarmak (Boiled meat mixed with noodles & spicy onion sauce, eaten with the hands), Manty dumplings & Lepyoshka (flatbread).  To accompany our Panamanian breakfast doughnuts, I opted to cook Borsok (fried bread).
Rating: 9/10 – we thought these little breads were awesome and could be enjoyed equally with savoury dips or with honey, jam or chocolate spread.
2 cups of flour
½ tbsp salt
¼ tsp sugar
¼ tsp dried yeast
¼ cup milk
¼ cup warm water
1 egg
1/2 cup olive oil
Combine the flour, sugar, yeast and salt. In a separate bowl, beat the egg and stir in the milk. Combine the two mixtures, stir them together, and stir in warm water slowly until the mixture holds together but is not sticky.
Cover the mixture and place it in a warm part of the house.
After two hours, roll the dough until it is about ¼ inch thick. Cut the dough into 1 inch by 2 inch rectangles.
Pour ¼ cup oil into a saucepan and heat on medium high. Additional oil may be needed depending on the size of the saucepan. Make sure the oil completely covers the surface of the pan.
Once the oil is heated, fry the borsok in the pan. Depending on the size of the pan, you can fry 4-8 borsok at the same time-but be sure that they do not overlap.
Fry the borsok until it puffs up and is golden brown on the bottom.
Flip the borsok over to fry the other side until it is also golden brown.
Add additional oil as needed to keep a thin coat of oil on the surface of the pan.
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